If Attorney General Jeff Sessions has his way, National Security Council staffers will undergo lie detector tests to find White House leakers. The Trump administration has been plagued by a series of leaks, ranging from transcripts of calls between President Trump and foreign leaders to reports of palace intrigue from top White House officials.
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Sessions has told associates he likes the idea of targeting the foreign leader phone calls because there’s a small enough universe of people who would have had access to these transcripts. Also, the idea that the President of the United States can’t have private conversations with foreign leaders was a bridge too far, even for Democrats.
Ian Prior, a spokesman for Sessions, declined comment when presented with the details of this report.
Sessions himself was subject to a leak this week. Axios published a DHS press release ahead of AG Jeff Sessions’ press conference on DACA. In bullet form, reporter Johnathan Swan listed all the points Sessions covered during Tuesday’s announcement.
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Axios obtained the DHS press release from outside sources and did not receive it from the department, so we are not abiding by the embargo instructions: (“embargoed until after AG remarks are delivered.”)
- According to the DHS release, “yesterday, Attorney General Sessions sent a letter to Acting Secretary Duke articulating his legal determination that DACA ‘was effectuated by the previous administration through executive action, without proper statutory authority and with no established end-date, after Congress’ repeated rejection of proposed legislation that would have accomplished a similar result. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch.’
- “The letter further stated that because DACA ‘has the same legal and constitutional defects that the courts recognized as to DAPA, it is likely that potentially imminent litigation would yield similar results with respect to DACA.’
- “Nevertheless, in light of the administrative complexities associated with ending the program, he recommended that the Department wind down the program in an efficient and orderly fashion, and his office has reviewed the terms on which the Department will do so.
- “Based on guidance from Attorney General Sessions, and the likely result of potentially imminent litigation, Acting Secretary Elaine Duke today issued a memo formally rescinding the June 15, 2012 memorandum that created DACA, and initiating an orderly wind down of the program.”
AG Sessions announced in August that a crackdown on leakers will include a review of the DOJ’s policies of issuing subpoenas to media outlets publishing sensitive information.
“I have this message for our friends in the intelligence community–The Justice Department is open for business, and I have this warning for potential leakers: Don’t do it,” Sessions said.
Via The Hill:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday announced a government-wide crackdown on leakers, which will include a review of the Justice Department’s policies on subpoenas for media outlets that publish sensitive information.
At a press conference with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Sessions announced that the Justice Department, FBI and government intelligence agencies will direct more resources into the investigations of government leaks and would prioritize prosecuting those that pass sensitive information along to the press or foreign officials.
Sessions said his Justice Department has already tripled the number of active leak investigations over the previous administration, and that the FBI would create a new counterintelligence unit to manage the cases.
In addition, Sessions said that after meeting with FBI and intelligence investigators, the Justice Department would review its policies affecting media subpoenas.
“We respect the important role the press plays and we’ll give them respect, but it’s not unlimited,” Sessions said. “They cannot place lives at risk with impunity. We must balance the press’ role with protecting our national security and the lives of those who serve in the intelligence community, the Armed Forces and all law-abiding Americans.”